Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli issued a public apology on Monday for his latest act of indiscipline and made an appeal to stay in the Italy national team for Euro 2012.
He picked up his fourth red card in two seasons with City in the 1-0 loss at Arsenal on Sunday, prompting questions about whether Balotelli has again broken the new code of ethics installed by Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.
“I’m very sorry for what happened and for the disappointment caused to Manchester City, and especially to [manager] Roberto Mancini, who I admire and wish well,” Balotelli said in a statement provided to the ANSA news agency by his agent, Mino Raiola. “I am very attached to the national team, but yesterday I committed two fouls in the course of action, not by reaction.”
Balotelli was given the red card in the 90th minute after he was booked for lunging at Bacary Sagna’s knee, three minutes after Mikel Arteta had scored for Arsenal.
“I didn’t break the code of ethics,” Balotelli said. “I already missed out on the national team for foolishness and I wouldn’t do it a second time. I hope to be there at the training camp in April. Let’s wait for the final verdict of the ban.”
Balotelli could also face a suspension of up to nine matches from the Football Association for his mounting number of offenses this season.
The red card throws into doubt Balotelli’s immediate future with the Italy team after the stamp on Parker caused Prandelli to leave him out of the squad for the friendly against the US in February.
“I’ll evaluate from the videos of the sending off whether or not to apply the code of ethics for Balotelli,” Prandelli said on Monday, two weeks before a two-day training camp scheduled for the Azzurri.
After the Arsenal match, City manager Mancini said he “was finished” with Balotelli.
“I’m very sorry for him because he is losing his talent and his quality,” Mancini said. “He is in a bad way for his future and he needs to change his behavior.”
In his statement, Balotelli addressed his future at City.
“At the end of the season, I will speak with the club and we’ll see,” he said.